Likely Test skipper Brad Haddin will captain a near international-strength NSW team when he returns from injury in this week’s Sheffield Shield match against South Australia.
The 37-year-old wicketkeeper has been named to lead the Blues in the match at the SCG starting on Tuesday after being cleared to play his first match since injuring his shoulder during the second Test against Pakistan in the UAE just over three weeks ago.
His comeback could not be more timely, with the 37-year-old tipped to become Australia’s 45th Test captain in the first Test against India at the Gabba starting on December 4.
While Test captain Michael Clarke has not been ruled out, he is racing against time to be fit for the Gabba Test following his latest in a series of hamstring injuries, and the risk of a recurrence may count against him.
The NSW selectors were also able to recall Test batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith, all-rounder Shane Watson and fast bowler Mitchell Starc from recent international duty.
However, Cricket Australia directed that paceman Josh Hazlewood would be unavailable for selection due to workload management.
Peter Nevill, who led NSW in their opening three matches, retained his place in the team as a specialist batsman, having scored 244 runs from six innings at an average of 81.33.
Missing from the side which lost to Queensland in Brisbane are Ryan Carters (Cricket Australia XI), Nick Larkin, Scott Henry, Kurtis Patterson and Josh Lalor.
NSW are currently last on the competition table after three rounds with 10.05 points, while SA are third with 10.7 points.
NSW team: Brad Haddin (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Nathan Lyon, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Gurinder Sandhu, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson (12th man TBA).